Penny Ann Dolin
Professor, Graphic Information Technology , Director Technical Imaging

Complex Lighting

Project Published 2/23/18 Last updated on 2/28/20

Complex Lighting

The goal of this project is to experiment and learn about how complex lighting can create a successful shot. Unusual surfaces also contribute to powerful imagery.
You will create two distinct shots using clear glass and white acrylic (flat or sweep). Choose your props from the assortment of glassware in the studio. You can use accent items such as shells and stones, but the glassware is the focal point. You can also fill the glasses with colored water.
Lighting must be from either below or behind/in back of the surface. Gels and diffusion material can be used. Remember to use fill cards or mirrors or reflectors."

(I know not everyone has a full commercial studio, but any kind of light can create interesting effects.)

  • Photoshop

    Editing and compositing for photos, web and mobile app designs, 3D artwork, videos, and more.

  • Lightroom

    The cloud-based photo service for people who love photography.

Age Levels
1+ Day
ISTE Standards
Students: Innovative Designer

Although a full studio helps, you can do this with any camera that has manual controls, lights(speed lights, studio strobes, led lights), and a piece of clear glass and a piece of white plexi. I supply glass ware and let them choose the shot they want to build.

CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
4 / 5 • 2 Ratings

Resources (3)

or Join for free to access materials
File Size

Comments (2)

Write a reply...
or Join for free to view all comments and participate in the discussion.

Erica Walker

Posted on 6/19/19 2:33:24 PM Permalink

​Penny, do you prepare students in advance about the challenges of shooting reflective surfaces or do they discover that through this project?

Ahmed Belal

Posted on 12/6/18 7:23:49 AM Permalink

​Thanks for Sharing